Safety in the workplace is your right, not your luck

People on their way to work

Going to work should not be dangerous and even for jobs which you might class as hazardous or dangerous, processes, safety equipment and training should ensure that being injured is not simply being unlucky.

We all know about health and safety in the workplace: sensible risk assessments… safety harnesses… special ways to lift things… even the best way to sit in a chair. All too often workplace health and safety regulations are mocked – even sneered at.  Sadly, there is still a certain “gung-ho” attitude amongst many workplaces and employers when it comes to your safety and that is all fine until the day when it isn’t.

Have you ever wondered why we actually have all these safety rules? The truth is these regulations only exist because people were hurt or even killed. It took accidents, sometimes truly serious ones, for failings to be spotted:

  • Poor PPE – like a care worker not having access to disposable gloves or proper footwear for winter weather.
  • Poor environment - like mechanics working in dim garages with improper inspection pits.
  • Poor equipment - like a construction worker being given the wrong tool to complete a job or given no training on operating the tool.
  • Poor working processes – like a waitress having to pass a hot cooker while carrying orders or trip hazards in a kitchen.

These kinds of scenarios in the past lead to accidents and while an individual may be injured, it then led to improvements for thousands of others in their industry. 

Lorry drivers, office workers, nurses, teachers, farmers, shop workers, warehouse personnel... every profession now has better tools, better PPE, better processes, safer places to work and more rights. 

Understandably, there’s an element of locking the door after the horse has bolted but if we look at the bigger picture then workers, families and future generations are now better off.

“Well if workplaces are safer than ever why do accidents still happen?”

We believe this is most commonly due to negligent human error (which is where people know the rules but don’t follow them).

So if you have been hurt because of negligence, what happens next?

Well we know doctors can fix your body after an accident – but who helps fix your life?

A union rep? Your boss? Friends and family? Maybe a local MSP to raise awareness? 

  • How do these people help if your injury stops you working?
  • How do these people help if you lose wages and can’t buy food or pay bills?
  • How do these people help if you can’t return to work after you heal?
  • How do these people help if you have long-term or expensive care?
  • And can you rely on these people to go all the way to court to fight for your rights? 

At Digby Brown we have been helping workers for as long as the firm can remember and bear in mind we are over 100 years old. Accidents in the workplace can be nasty and we know as employees it is difficult to make a claim against your work. However please remember that your employer should have insurance in place for this eventuality and it is the business that pays any rightful compensation.

Only a no win, no fee workplace accident injury claim can provide the help you and your family need to recover from an accident. And only an independent solicitor can properly investigate your accident, assess your injuries and calculate your financial losses to make sure you recover everything you are entitled to. 

Some people worry about hurdles being in the way before they’ve even begun an accident at work claim, so to offer some assurance here are the answers to some common questions:

"Should I talk to my boss?"

Yes, you should. But only to report the incident and make them understand that you are seeking independent legal advice about what happened. If they are a good employer, they will have a process in place for allowing you to do this.

"Is it the right thing to do to make a claim against a good employer?"

We totally understand that you might have reservations in doing this, however something went wrong, and you are likely to be the one out of pocket. For many they have no choice but to do this because of the financial consequences. Remember your employer should have insurance for this eventuality.

“What if my boss sacks me for making a claim?” 

Your boss can try and sack you but as an employee you have rights and making a personal injury claim is not a sackable offence – if they do, they face further legal action for unfair dismissal. You’ve got to question how ethical an employer is who uses their own failings to try and get rid of you.

“How can I get the evidence if the boss holds it all?”

Do not worry about this. Once you speak to Digby Brown, we take care of all of this. If your boss does not co-operate - and again why wouldn’t they? - we can force them through the court process if necessary.

“Can I claim if I’m self-employed?”

Yes (however this will depend on the circumstances of your accident). For example, if you’re a self-employed joiner working on a building site it is the job of the site manager to keep you safe. So if you are injured due to their negligence then your status as a self-employed worker is not an issue.

“Is my injury even worth claiming for?”

If your injury stops you working or leaves you out of pocket and was not your fault then yes, we believe it is worth considering a claim. This can be especially important if your injury, which starts out as relatively minor, worsens over time.